Carrots are one of the most widely consumed root vegetables in the world. When raw, they’re crisp, mild and slightly sweet. When cooked in a stew or stir fry, they’re equally delicious. Despite their popularity there’s a lesser known side of carrots – the history of their recognizable orange color. “In the 17th century, Dutch growers cultivated orange carrots as a tribute to William of Orange – who led the the struggle for Dutch independence – and the color stuck. A thousand years of yellow, white and purple carrot history was wiped out in a generation.”
So, what happened to the vibrant rainbow of colorful carrots? They’re making a comeback, folks. Just check out the farmers market or the produce section to see for yourself. Thank goodness they weren’t completely taken out, because color has a lot to do with health. And the more colorful your plate, the more likely you are to consume a wide array of cancer-fighting antioxidant compounds in your diet.
Carrots offer a multitude of health benefits:
- Prevention against several cancers (lung, leukemia, colon, and prostate) – carrots are rich in carotenoids and beta-carotene, which have been shown to reduce the risk of cancer. In a 2011 study, carrot juice extract was shown to kill leukemia cells.
- Improved vision – the beta-caroten in carrots is converted into vitamin A (in the liver), which has been shown to restore vision
- Slows aging – beta-carotene has been shown to slow the aging of cells
- Healthy skin – vitamin A helps to prevent premature wrinkling, dry skin, acne, and uneven skin tone
- Prevention against infection – cooked and mashed carrots have been used by herbalists on cuts to prevent infection
- Heart disease prevention – diets rich in carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease
- Healthier gums and teeth – crunchy, raw carrots can help to scrape plaque and food particles off teeth
- Chronic disease prevention – eating an abundant amount of all fruits and veggies, including carrots, has been shown protect against a host of chronic diseases
- Colorful Antioxidants!
- PURPLE carrots provide more beta-carotene than their orange cousins, and get their pigment from anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants compounds that protect the body against harmful free radicals, help prevent heart disease by slowing blood clotting, and are good anti-inflammatory agents.
- RED carrots derive their color from lycopene, a type of carotenoid shown to guard against heart disease and some cancers.
- YELLOW carrots draw their color from xanthophylls, pigments similar to beta-carotene that support good eye health.
- ORANGE carrots get their color from beta-carotene, a pigment that protects the body agains damage from free radicals
The next time you shop for carrots, pick out a colorful bunch and enjoy in a salad, dipped in some hummus, roasted with a dash of salt, or cooked in a pot of veggie soup. Your body will thank you.
To your health 🙂
Gumsaba Outdoor Fitness Class schedule Thursday 2/19/15
5:30AM Sunrise Danville Womens only class – Coach Briana – Loaded Thursday
5:30AM Sunrise Danville Mens only class – Coach Joel – Loaded Thursday
6AM Sunup Lafayette Co-Ed class – Coach Jentry – Sweatfest 2015
9AM Sunshine Walnut Creek Womens class – Coach Briana – Loaded Thursday
9:35AM Rose Court Co-ED – Coach Michelle – (private class) Kickbox + Core
11:00AM Cytosport HIIT Training – Coach Briana (private class)
12:00PM Cytosport Power Yoga – Coach Jentry (private class)